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State of hate
My hat is off to Robert McAndrews ("Black and white," Letters, Oct. 31). He had the guts to speak out about "the elephant in the room," Barack Obama's race and foreign-sounding name.
I am so disgusted by the mean-spirited and outright hateful e-mails about Obama I received during this election time from well-educated, "nice" people. This is more than a difference of political opinion — this is personal deep-seated racism and scapegoating, and it saddens me to my very core.
— Carol Blythe
Can't stand the heat
These were the first presidential debates in 24 years with not so much as a whisper about "climate change." Are we paying attention? I wonder, regularly beholding the Waldo Canyon burn scar, what is to prevent another such catastrophic blaze. We are all vulnerable. What, if anything, can we do to take some real steps in thinking how we need to live on this diminished planet of 7 billion humans?
More people 10 years ago believed that climate change was real. It is no longer a distant future problem. We are experiencing it now. The politicians won't address it honestly because it is unpopular and they are heavily backed by big oil and coal.
We are still in denial in our personal lives as well. We want everything just as it has always been, but it is not sustainable and we have wrought grave damage. We have seen our neighborhoods engulfed in flames in part because of record high temperatures.
We are in the midst of another great extinction caused by humans, habitat loss, deforestation, destruction of our oceans and coral reefs. It is projected that at this rate of extinction, half of all species will be gone forever in my daughters' lifetimes. We have fouled and wasted our very source of life, water. Now we are increasing our domestic energy by using millions of gallons of precious water to frack for natural gas, so that we may consume at will.
We must examine and question our ways and demand that our elected officials lead. Climate change is not a hoax. I wish to leave the beauty and vitality of this earth to my children's children's children ...
— Mary Crade
Can't stand the meat
Frankenstorm Sandy is one more dramatic demonstration that climate change and its extreme weather patterns are now part of our future. Although we're unlikely to reverse climate change, we can still mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, our energy use and our meat consumption.
Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat consumption accounts for 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected World Watch magazine suggested that it may be closer to 50 percent.
Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport and slaughter animals and to refrigerate their carcasses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.
We have the power to reduce the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based lunch "meats," hotdogs, veggie burgers, soy and nut-based dairy products (including cheese and ice cream), and an ample selection of traditional vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. Product lists, easy recipes, and transition tips are available at livevegan.org.
— Carl Silverman
On behalf of the LGBT People of Planet Earth, I want to extend my heartfelt apologies to the citizens of the northeastern United States. While 99.9 percent of what's blamed on us is complete bullshit, this one is definitely our bad. We never intended for it to get so out of control. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, right?
Anyway, our original plan was to create a certain ambience with moisturizing and exfoliating ocean breeze — and maybe a few rainbows. However, a couple of overzealous and undertrained interns in R&D went a little apeshit, hence the disaster you've experienced.
Please know that we played absolutely no part in naming the storm. If it were up to us, we would have named it Hurricane Liza or FrankenCher. Please look deep into your hearts and try to forgive. Don't let this minor infraction widen the gap between us.
— Christopher Curcio
Focus' Jim Daly, in a conversation with the Indy's John Weiss, takes issue with Planned Parenthood's record of a low number of patient referrals for adoption versus the abortions that they provide.
News flash, Mr. Daly: Planned Parenthood does NOT provide adoption services.
I worked with Planned Parenthood and two other free-standing women's clinics for many years, and by the time a woman schedules an appointment for an abortion, she is usually sure that is what she wants. The options of adoption and parenting are discussed, and Planned Parenthood provides adoption referrals, but ultimately it is a woman's choice as to what she wants to do. Furthermore, limiting options as to what is available to women and men as contraceptives will not decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies. Neither will denying them the resources that Planned Parenthood provides.
Bottom line, if you are against abortion, don't have one if you are pregnant. And if some types of birth control offend you, don't use them.
— Cathy Reilly
Smoking him out
Open letter to Congressman Lamborn on his stand on the Food and Drug Administration, and FDA tobacco regulation:
Regulation of tobacco by the FDA is as important to the health and welfare of unborn children as it is to born children. As you know, tobacco interests continue to target children while they are young and impressionable in order to get them hooked.
In 2009, the U.S. Congress voted on FDA regulation of tobacco products to protect young children. This was feel-good legislation, and should have had a 100-percent vote when it passed. It passed, President Obama signed it, and we now have FDA protections for children.
I was informed that you, Rep. Lamborn, voted against it. I don't understand why anyone would vote against the health and welfare of young children. Are you also against the FDA, and are you getting tobacco company political donations?
— Don Slayter
Venture's a guess
Raising venture capital for a fledgling invention with promise is a business best left to professional VC firms. Successful VC firms have many functions — putting together a corps of investors, identifying a likely prospect, actively engaging in and shepherding the prospect to production or to success, having the expertise to market the end product. Partial ownership of the entity is an incentive that creates a potential win-win situation for all concerned.
At the Oct. 17 meeting of the Utilities Board (aka City Council), a citizen speaker stated that inventor David Neumann had rejected an offer of $29 million in venture capital to develop his unproven, experimental process. If true, why? Perhaps Neumann objected to the VC firm requirement of a piece of ownership in his company.
Colorado Springs Utilities offered a deal that Neumann could not refuse. This was a $73.5 million VC cost-plus contract, providing Neumann Systems Group a larger pot of money, a working laboratory (Martin Drake) for experimentation, and 3 percent of gross sales to CSU if the process succeeds and if CSU learns how to market it.
This deal is flawed on several levels. Foremost is the fact that ratepayers, without vote or consultation, have been impressed into unwitting VC investors. Voters present and future should know: The combined total from this and the USOC deal has saddled voters with $100 million repayment without your consent.
Why has venture capital not come to Colorado Springs for four years in a row? Entrepreneurs, innovators and new companies have thrived elsewhere in Colorado. Spurred by startup and tech-related financing, VC investors poured nearly $181 million into 28 deals involving Colorado-based companies in third quarter 2012. More than half that money went to early-stage companies (Denver Post, Oct. 19).
Denver Startup Week was a promotion that kicked off Oct. 22 to showcase the area's small-business and tech community and to provide resources for entrepreneurs. Even PERA is entering the VC arena.
Some Council members propose a "timeout" for the contract with NSG, if not an outright rescission. Certainly stormwater solutions and SDS deserve top-priority attention. CSU should retire forthwith from the VC business.
— John A. Daly
Chimney Rock star
Thanks are due to President Obama (visit whitehouse.gov/contact) for his recent designation of Chimney Rock National Monument, a 4,700-acre cultural and natural treasure in southern Colorado. The President's action highlights the monument for future generations, while preserving important pieces of our country's shared past.
I firmly believe that our elected officials must continue to permanently protect other nationally significant lands. Like Chimney Rock, areas such as Browns Canyon, with ruggedly scenic, wildlife-rich primitive lands adjoining the frequently rafted Arkansas River near Salida, are deserving of national recognition.
Senators Udall and Bennet and other members of the Colorado delegation showed great leadership in their support for the protection of Chimney Rock. Udall is also a champion for protecting Browns Canyon. He understands that these lands embody values important to Coloradans. Browns Canyon provides our families and communities with opportunities for rafting, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor recreation. A Browns Canyon national monument designation would bring positive economic benefits to our region and state, as well as secure a natural legacy for our nation.
For more information on Browns Canyon and other significant Colorado wildlands, visit markudall.senate.gov.
I used FREX three times in its last three months; it was a way to go see my mother who is in a memory care facility in Broomfield. I am unable to drive, but even if I could I would still take FREX even at a higher cost.
Experiencing Denver transit made me aware of how totally lacking we as a city are in our awareness that transit is a necessity for a 21st-century city. Here are a few things I discovered that seemed to contribute to FREX's downfall.
• The main problem: FREX was never promoted as anything but a commuter service for workers. I never saw FREX advertised as a much cheaper alternative to the private airport shuttle to DIA, which I am told runs $100 round-trip. FREX stopped at the Main Market Street bus station in Denver, and from there you could take a bus to DIA. Compare $100 with $22. I also never saw FREX advertised as a way to access Denver's tourist attractions. Nor in Denver did it try to increase ridership down here as a way to access Pikes Peak, the Broadmoor, Garden of the Gods, our state-of-the-art skateboard park the Olympic Training Center, etc.
• FREX cut the price of service in half from 10 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. These were the times I was using it, and there were a fair amount of others using it too at these times. I do not believe this cut encouraged use, or that to have charged the regular price in the "off" hours would have discouraged use. This half-price decision just contributed to FREX's failure.
Not having a shuttle to Denver and being so behind other modern-day cities in our development of a modern transit system says much when trying to "sell" our city, kind of like selling a beautiful home with antiquated plumbing.
— Annette Fetler
Last week's Publisher's Note ("Still refocusing Focus") gave conflicting dates for James Dobson's exit from Focus on the Family. To be clear: While James Dobson stepped down as Focus on the Family president in 2005, he remained affiliated with the organization until 2010. We regret any confusion this may have caused.